Peter Linden: How I fell for Old Time music

I fell hard for the sound of banjo and fiddle while living in New York. The first semblance of Old-time music I heard was at the magical Jalopy Theater. There I saw for the first time the social nature of fiddle tunes. These somewhat casual but cosmic conversations happened an arm’s length away, filling the room with drone and plunk. I was lucky to be in a city full of talented people and it didn’t take long between finding a banjo and meeting a great banjo player to show me how to play it. I was introduced to Joel Wennerstrom, who generously took me under his wing and showed me what was what with Old-time music. Joel showed me the records to listen to, the right pubs to go to, and the players to sit closer to. I followed the music back to the west coast. While briefly living in central Oregon I grommed around the fiddle festivals of the Pacific Northwest. The music just kept getting better wherever I went. Portland, Olympia, Weiser, all left me with an insatiable thirst to play tunes. Staying up late making music with strangers and becoming friends by the time the sun came up. I ended up in Los Angeles, where I was fortunate to find even more folks to learn from and to quench that thirst for tunes. For now, because of Le Pandemic, the sharing has slowed, but the music lives on! Through virtual reality concerts or veiled jam sessions I want to remind myself and the readers here that we’ll be together again one day, huddled into a small room or under a pop-up tent around the vibration of this music we love.